Thursday, 29 October 2009

Fashion's Night Out returns and The Red Shoes

I am unduly excited about the news that the Fashion's Night Out event was so successful that Vogue is doing it again. The last one was rather a lot of fun, despite the snooty sales people in Stella McCartney who wouldn't let me take any pictures.
I have never met so many amazing designers in one night plus I discovered that Rupert Sanderson and I share a favourite film - The Red Shoes.

He was a very nice man. As was Christopher Kane who humoured my star struck trying-to-be-a-proper-journalist questions when he obvioulsy just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the evening. And Osman Yousefzada was truly, truly lovely, going as far as to invite me to his LFW show the week after. (Which I couldn't go to. Gutted is not the word.)
Browns felt like an insiders party for the serious London fashion set, while Tod's felt more like a night in Mahiki (but generally better dressed). It was just generally good.
Now I know what to expect, I will plan better for the next one and get there early enough to meet the Voguers and loads of the other deisgners that I just missed. I just hope that the numbers don't swell too much, because if too many punters turn up it will be a horrid seething mass of star spotters and woo girls.

My head is full of stuff I don't understand...

I think this poster is quite good. It's from Present Joys and you can buy it here for £28. I can think of at least two of my friends for whom this will make a highly apt Christmas gift, if I can get it together to actually order something off the internet which involves planning and is much less fun than actual shopping for unusual but perfect gifts at markets and jumbles... But the 'under-stand' bothers me too much to have it on my own wall. Why? I don't know.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

This jacket has been haunting my dreams

Seriously. Want. This.

I've been dreaming about how warm and soft and lovely this would be to the extent that I am now actually considering attempting to make something similar myself. Damn you Olsen sisters, with your lovely but expensive Elizabeth and James clothing. I don't even know why you are famous, but you do give good jacket.

(pics via

YSL - just one more reason to take the fashion industry more seriously

When people laugh at me for being interested in fashion, I quietly assure myself that an interest in an industry that contributes millions to the British economy each year, and billions globally, is just as valid as an interest in any other art form.
And now Forbes has given me more fuel for my argument with its posthumous rich list. Because while the kings of pop, art and even science and literature, still earn serious money after they've shifted off their mortal coil, they can't even come close to our own late, great Yves Saint Laurent who has earned more than $350 million since his death last year.
That's the kind of figure that would give most bankers wet dreams.
Yes, the power of the YSL brand is not something to be scoffed at but neither is its style. The fashion world, and indeed western women, owe YSL rather a lot. His beautiful and liberating designs have allowed us to feel womanly and sexy in masculine tailoring. Le Smoking, his tuxedo for women, is one of the most iconic designs of the last century and not just in fashion terms.

You might not know it, but it's highly likely that there's an item in your wardrobe directly influenced by a YSL design.
It takes a strong personality to fill those kind of shoes - so you have to hand it to Stefano Pilati for taking it on. And til recently he had been doing rather well. The cage ankle boot wasn't my cup of tea, but it worked and its iconic design helped rejuvenate the label and carry it forward. I completely loved almost everything else in his S/S2009 collection. 
But Pilati really pushed my loyalty with a very odd s/s2010 collection at Paris Fashion week, which I saw stomping down the runway via Fashion TV the other evening.

(pic from

Maybe I just didn't get it, but I really can't imagine Yves having approved of the oversized strawberries or the weird fit of some of the outfits.

(pics from

It wasn't awful, it just wasn't as good as I was hoping for. Sometimes dissappointment is worse than anything else.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

As seen on Style Bubble - Eight London

Style Bubble is just one of the long list of style and fashion blogs to which I have become addicted, although to be honest I don't share Susie's taste. However every now and again she posts something I really adore, like I Heart Norwegian Wood's halters and cage skirts (which are coming to Topshop as part of the next EDIT drop - be still my beating heart).

And today I fell in love, yes actual love, with her latest discovery Eight London whose ten look collection is basically my ideal wardrobe. Well, the core of my ideal wardrobe anyway - anyone who has actually seen my wardrobe will know that I could never stick to such a small selection.

Every piece is made to order, and I haven't got that kind of money right now so I can't order anything to vouch for its quality. A lot of the pieces are silk which can be difficult to wear. But really, these kind of practical things are what I tell myself when I really want something that I can't have.

I'm also a big fan of their super minimalist web site design which is the perfect showcase for their beautifully cut clothes...

Friday, 23 October 2009


Today I spent more than £20 on cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery and cheese from La Cave a Fromage and I am eating the whole lot on my own under my duvet on the sofa while watching The Princess Bride. I have been in bed for the entire afternoon. Plus am swathed in cashmere - men's Liberty cashmere jumper from sample sale and the brown TSE scarf...

Marie Antoinette ain't got nothing on me. (I couldn't help it - I ate one before I remembered to take a picture. Also don't ask to see the cheese, it's gone.)

Also have been watching really, really bad TV. But Kelly Osborne on Dancing with the Stars, um, what?? There are levels that are too low even for me.

p.s. here's what I wore to our big family reunion on Sunday which would have been really nice if I hadn't been ill and stressed...

The perfect Breton-style T from Margaret Howell, £3 jumble sale skirt, Liz Clairborne belt (50p charity shop bargain), holey Primark cardigan - this really is old as anyone who knows me knows I no longer shop in that horrible pit of seething crassness.
Also Falke tights which are amazing because although they cost more than any of the clothes in this picture they never run and have lasted me almost a year now.
Plus my favourite Topshop lace up shoes (they're called Shallow, which makes them even better I think). Couldn't get them in shot so here's a pic courtesy of the Topshop website...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Jewellery lust

I am exceedingly picky when it comes to jewellery. I think this is a result of coming from a family with a costume jewellery business and being given unlimited access to the warehouse as a teenager.
I have had enough rubbish diamante to last a lifetime and can see absolutely no reason why I would pay to have more of it in my life.

I still have an awful lot of jewellery I never wear, although friends will be pleased to hear that after my most recent wardrobe edit and the rediscovery of a long-thought-lost jewellery box I currently have a whole shoebox load of costume jewellery to give away at the next swap.

These days I usualy only wear a pendant necklace. In fact its the same pendant every day - the perfect gift from my boyfriend by my favourite jeweller Alex Monroe.

Occasionally I wear my old favourite Feather jewellery by Monroe for a bit of variation. But that's about it.

However, recently my head has been turned by Bittersweets NY's baby vamp ring and some other bits on their gently gothic web site. If I knew my ring size my wallet would already be considerably lighter, but I don't (this is probably a good thing). I keep going back to the site to stare longingly at the lovely things. One day they will be mine.

There have also been some other bits and pieces popping up on other blogs. I found this paper planes necklace from via Swiss Miss. If only the exchange rate wasn't so shit at the moment...

I also wanted this Hello necklace by Joanna Rutter on Etsy, but it sold out long ago. So I have replaced its space on my wishlist with this super cute Little Toy Boat necklace by Yellow Goat, also on Etsy, which I actually think is better.

It's been a long, long week

I have had not time to enjoy the finer things in life - like online window shopping, jewellery lust and cashmere sample sales. Much too busy. And tired. And worried.
Well, I hadn't had time til last night, my first free evening in ages which I chose to spend not getting the early night I so desperately needed and catching up with the new series of Gossip Girl (yes, I know this is a bad thing to enjoy, but I do, so go and judge your own trashy tv habits).
Nope, instead I went straight to the TSE sample sale after work in hope of finding two of my favourite things under one roof - cashmere and bargains.
So was it worth it? Well, sort of. Actually yes it was. Because despite everything still being quite pricey for a poor person like me, I came out with the Most Amazing Scarf Ever. It is the kind of scarf that makes you wish it was colder than it actually is so you can justify wearing it (of course I wore it today anyway). It was beyond my budget - reduced from £560 (really? someone would pay £560 for a scarf?!?) to £79 - still an awful lot of money for a scarf. I only gave myself a £50 budget and was supposed to be looking for a cashmere cardigan, which I found. But then there was the scarf.
To be fair, it is HUGE. And it has pockets. It's like wearing your duvet when you leave the house if your duvet was made of the softest chunkiest cashmere wool mix imagineable. With pockets. I get super cold hands, even in Summer, so I am in love with the pockets.
There is only one problem with it - it is brown. I am not a brown person. The only time that I find brown acceptable is on leather products. Otherwise, just no. No no no. Also brown does not really go that well with black, and I love black, so what is the point?
But the scarf is brown. So I have made an exception. But if anyone can recommend a way of dying brown cashmere black - without any risk of shrinkage or bobbling or leaving black stains on everything I wear it with afterwards - I would be eternally grateful.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Take me back to Antwerp

Am off work today with a nasty migraine, but unfortunately this is no excuse for not doing the things I urgently need to do.
If you are a procrastinator like me then you will understand how challenging it actually is to work from home. There's the TV and the siren call of the Sky + box, there's access to the internet without anyone to breathe over my shoulder and scowl disapprovingly over my constant window shopping on net a porter, topshop, asos and ebay or stop me from reading the hundreds of blogs I have become addicted to.
Susie over at Style Bubble has been making me feel particulalry green with envy today, thanks mainly to her recent trip to Antwerp, one of my favourite shopping cities.
Last time I was there with the boy we had great fun being intimidated in the Yohji Yamamoto store, lusting over the gloves in Huis A Boon, chatting to the black-clad shop assistants smoking outside Ann Demeulemeester and meeting some really friendly people who invited us to a party in a loft where someone had built a series of garden sheds for students to live in.
And then there were the lovely vintage shops, antique furniture shops, the photography museum and lots and lots of Martin Margiela who seems to be a big favourite with the Antwerpians.
But the most amazing thing about Antwerp is it is in possibly the most boring country in the world - Belgium. I never really thought Belgium had all that much going for it (aside from the chocolates and the waffles). Maybe Antwerp is so good because your expectations are so low, but it really is a very nice place with some serious style going on. I would so much rather be there than here right now.
Next month I'm, heading off to Berlin on a whirlwind visit to Little Miss Where Am I who has promised that I will be blown away by the vintage shops. Am almost giddy with excitement just thinking about it.
Now, back to work or I will be in big trouble when deadline day rolls around on Monday...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


So, I have now got my camera, charged up the battery, turned it on and realised I don't really have a clue about taking pictures.
Also the lighting in our house is the kind of lighting that older women love - i.e. soft and quite low. Not conducive for taking good quality images of my new silver and black knitted jacket of amazingness. But anyway, here are some of the pictures I promised, and you can see all my rubbish experiments with various mirrors and lighting arrangements.
Um, actually apparently I have to install the camera software first...
Ok, maybe now it will work!

So, this is my teeny tiny doctors bag. I love it. It's like a really classy tardis - you would seriously be shocked at how small it is and how much I can fit into it. I have asked mum to model it so you can get some idea of the scale...

(Think that's project runway on in the background - love that Heidi Klum always gets it slightly wrong with her own outfits but sits in judgement on all these people...)

And here is the shiny, warm, soft, fluffy, £3 jacket of amazingness which is actually warmer than my coat... which is good because it's too chunky to fit under it even though the coat is technically about two sizes too big for me but is APC so I love it.

This was difficult to photograph well and doesn't really look like much but every time I have worn it people want to know where it's from or touch it or hug me.

So there you go. I know I still owe you a picture of the Jill Sander for Uniqlo coat, but frankly that is beyond me right now.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Yes, I am aware that to have a successful blog you do need to post regularly. As in more than once in five days. But I have been paralysed by the sheer number of things I need to get done.
Am organising a charity gig, working four days a week for the trade magazine, having hospital appointments, visiting an elderly sick relative, writing a freelance piece for this, guest blogging here and also applying for a masters degree at a university that is exceedingly difficult to get into.
Any of these would be stressful on their own but trying to do them all at the same time is driving me a bit mental. Suffice to say, I am very much looking forward to having met my deadlines and craving a proper nights sleep. And spending more time with the boy. And visiting little miss where am I. Which is going to be amazing.
And then I will be able to blog properly.
I have, however, managed to buy my camera. It is a thing of loveliness and it is almost impossible to take a bad photo with it. Actually, I lie, I didn't buy it. I gave the boy some money to go and buy it for me. But either way this means that I will actually be able to post the pictures I have promised when I can find a spare minute. And I will also be able to post up a picture of this weekend's big car boot sale bargain - an amazing black and silver chunky knitted cardigan.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bargain Hunt

It is rare that a week goes by Chez Magpie without a visit to a car boot sale, jumble sale, swap shop or charity shop. The vast majority of my wardrobe has been bought second hand in these places or on ebay - although ebay has been a bit rubbish and expensive lately.

Everything from Jasmine di Milo dresses and APC coats to vintage bags and belts can be found for less than bargain basement prices if you are persitant, although luck does have a large part to play.

So here, in a first in what promises to be a simply fascinating ongoing series, I am going to show off about my latest piece of uncovered treasure - a tiny vintage black leather doctors bag complete with brass clasps. Had to do a bit of work with some black shoe polish and wax on this one to restore it but couldn't rescue the nice long strap it originally came with. It is, however, the perfect size for a night out and fits the phone, notebook, pen, wallet, keys and makeup. As long as you don't mind rummaging around a bit to find them.

It cost more than I would usually spend on a bag from a car boot sale - five whole english pounds - but I had to have it.

Pics to follow - I am finally buying my camera tomorrow!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Paris s/s2010 ready to wear - Viktor & Rolf

OK, yes I am super jealous of all the bloggers in Paris (not to mention the people who actually get paid to be there for work!). And yes, I've been slightly ignoring all the shows so as not to make myself feel too blue. But some things are not ignorable.
Viktor & Rolf! I love these men - completely crazy but also stunningly, showstoppingly beautiful clothes.

You have to love designers whose approach to recession chic is to make literal cutbacks in their clothes.

Yes, these pictures have been all over the place, but there were also some really lovely slightly more wearable pieces that you might have missed.
Aside from that Swiss cheese inspired red dress, the palette was soft teal greens, dusky greys, faded lilacs and a whole plethora of gentle nudes. Yum yum yum. Like the fashion-forward macaroons of my dreams. As always, you can see it all on

Frankly, I really don't care what Lindsay Lohan did at Ungaro, a label that hasn't been worth watching for a few seasons now. So thank god that Viktor & Rolf produced something dramatic enough to keep the attention of the newspaper picture editors - it's extra gratifying when the fashion week coverage is about the clothes rather than the 'celebrities'.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Jil Sander for Uniqlo - the verdict

Frankly, I was disappointed.
Got there super early on launch day with a special invite to shop before everyone else and it was pretty busy (not like Stella McCartney for H&M though, that was insane).
I don't usually go in for high-street designer collaborations because they never really offer anything worth having. But all the interviews with Sander where she was going on about quality, cut and fit and pictures of some rather tasty looking classic coats made me feel a bit excited.
I put my optimists hat on and got up an hour early to make sure I wouldn't be too late for work.
So it was super disappointing to find that the quality of the clothes was really not up to scratch. The cut was fine, and the designs really classic, but the fabric choices let it all down; the overcoats were in this really ugly, cheap and fluffy wool mix. A lot of the materials just felt very thin, especially for an autumn/winter range.
However, we did come away with one really amazing piece - a heavy wool black tailcoat-style winter coat with super sharp shoulders and really interesting detailing. Pic to follow.

Car death

Got up super early this morning (well, for a saturday it was early) because I was going to drive the Boy to work but the car wouldn't start.
I hate this car. It's huge and navy with grey upholstery. And it's always falling apart. Currently, it has one of the front lights held on with brown tape and a radio arial that is stuck inside the car. And it won't start. And it has a front light held on with brown parcel tape. We call it the car of death because it's the first car i drove and there were a few close scrapes. Plus it kind of looks like something an undertaker would drive on his day off. It's the kind of car that businessmen in cheap suits drive on long motorway trips.
In my dreams I drive a dusky blue Nissan Figaro...
Now I'm waiting for the nice AA man and brooding over the fact that this means I will miss my planned car boot sale visit.
Car boot sales are one of my favourite things in the whole wide world. Seriously. I'm something of an obsessive.
Last week I found a deep green, dropped waist Marni dress, a beautifully simple, perfectly cut but sadly too small, black Prada cocktail dress and a seriously Sloaney brown plaid silk Dior skirt that's a little too big for me but will be altered on old faithful (the sewing machine I've had since I was 16). I spent a grand total of £6. Does it get any better than that?
Um actually, yes, the week before was a cream Future Ozbek jacket with an amazing shiny gauze overlay for 50p. Amazing!
This weekend was going to be a full-on car boot fest as I'm also putting together a space-themed fancy dress box for a charity launch night that a friend is holding. If AA man fixes the car and I do get to go will post any amazing finds here.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

My first blog post on my shiny new blog

I am actually not a blog virgin, but this is my first post on my very own blog.
I read rather a lot of these things and it seemed selfish not to contribute, or at least give people some kind of idea about who is talking to them.
This blog will mainly be about the things I like - fashion, news, food and pretty things (either on their own or in combination).
It will occasionally be about things that make me angry - people who cut in front of you on Oxford Street and then walk reeeeeeally slowly, people who dress very badly for no good reason at all and working.
Sometimes there will be pictures.
Mostly it'll be just me rambling on about something not hugely important in the grand scheme of things that seems important at that moment in time.